Ag News, August 13, 2013

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USDA: U.S. Farm Real Estate Up 9.4% Annually

LandOwner: The value of all U.S. farm real estate, all land and buildings on farms, rose 9.4% from 2012, reports USDA. The gain marks the fourth consecutive increase following a 3% decline in 2009.

The Northern Plains region lists the sharpest annual increase, 23.1%, followed by the Corn Belt’s 15.3% gain and Lake States’s rise of 11.5%. All regions except the Southeast report increases. The Southeast region reports farm real estate values are unchanged from a year earlier. That breaks a chain of steady decreases by that region since 2009. Login to Member Resources to download the latest issue:

Food Safety Regulations Impact Growers and Farmers on Many Levels

It’s a busy time on the food safety front in Washington with the Food and Drug Admin. preparing new regulations for growers of produce as well as farmers who minimally process veggies and fruits or handle or ship them for other farmers. Copyright 2013, The Washington Kiplinger Editors, Inc. Login to Member Resources to download the latest edition:

Get Know How. Register Now for Reno Annual Meeting

Registration is now open for AgroNomics Vision 2014 and the 84th Annual Meeting of ASFMRA!

This year’s meeting promises another outstanding agenda with program sessions that will get you “know how” to lead in today’s complex business world. You will hear from top notch speakers including Dr. Robert Fraley, Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer; Monsanto Company

  • Hear about innovative ways to meet the global demands on agriculture
  • Understand strategies for working with the environmental and regulatory issues facing our professions
  • Gain a better understanding of how you can implement the latest technology in your daily business
  • Discover how U.S. agriculture can compete for the growing Pacific Rim demand, which U.S. products are likely to do well and what this means for U.S. production and prices
  • Focus on the emergence of impact investing as it intersects with agriculture and farmland assets.
  • Learn about the primary principles of precision agriculture, key information gathering techniques and potentials, and the potential in these agricultural applications.

Back by popular demand, join us for the Rapid Fire Appraisal Session, the DuPont Pioneer Farm Management Ag Tour, the Education Foundation Auction, and much much more.  Don’t miss the welcome dinner at the National Automobile Museum hosted by the California Chapter of the ASFMRA!

Year after year, ‘networking’ is cited as a main reason for attending this conference. Join us in Reno and take advantage of the single best opportunity to connect with investors, fund managers, and the real property experts of the American Society.

AgroNomics, Vision 2014 & 84th Annual Meeting of ASFMRA
November 11-15, 2013
Peppermill Resort & Casino
Reno, NV

Beyond the excellent program, Reno is always a fun location to visit. Your stay at the Peppermill Spa Casino Resort will amaze you with a fusion of old-world hotel style and aesthetics, with contemporary luxury hotel amenities.

Here are some very important links for you:

Register now >
View the website >
See the schedule >
Make hotel reservations>

National Education Alliance Elects Governing Body

Washington, DC— The Alliance for Valuation Education (Alliance) is a new non-profit organization dedicated to providing greater availability of consistent, quality valuation education. The Alliance was created through the collaborative effort of 13 valuation organizations earlier this year.

The following individuals have been elected to the Board of Regents:
Paul Bierschwale, Chair, from Junction, Texas
Lee Hackett, Secretary, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Micheal Lohmeier, Treasurer, from Auburn Hills, Michigan
Sandra Guilfoil, from Renton, Washington
Stephen Sousa, from Boston, Massachusetts
Charles Blau, from Springfield, New Jersey
Mark Grace, from Denver, Colorado
Read more about the Alliance governing body:

Latest Version (3.0) of Web Soil Survey

The latest version of the Web Soil Survey 3.0 (WSS) was recently launched by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and can be accessed at   The web based application provides anyone with computer access a wealth of free soils information along with soil maps, properties and interpretations aimed at helping with land use decisions. The web site originally launched in August 2005 continues to be improved and enhanced to meet the demands of its growing customer base of several million hits a year.

The first and most noticeable change in WSS 3.0 is the maximum size for the Area of Interest (AOI) has been increased from 10,000 to 100,000 acres. The map imagery and map appearance also have been improved and they’re now using imagery from Bing. The number of options for changing map properties has been expanded to include: soil boundary color; soil boundary thickness; soil label size and background image shading. Plus the identify tool can now display information about multiple data layers at the same time.

Soil special line features are now labeled according to the type of line feature.  The label is an abbreviation, such as “ESO.”  The viewer can now use the map “identify” tool to see the corresponding feature name, such as “Escarpment, nonbedrock.”  SSURGO and STATSGO2 data can now be downloaded directly from WSS.  The viewer no longer has to first define an AOI to get these data. And the viewer no longer needs to go to the Soil Data Mart.

To make things even better for the viewer, support has been added for data regarding the Pacific Island Area and for map unit line and point data.  The options for tiling printable maps have been improved and Rich Site Summary (RSS) notifications are now available regarding soil data updates. And most importantly, WSS is now online 24/7 eliminating bothersome downtime.

These are a sampling of the enhancements in the latest version of WSS (3.0). Minor enhancements also have been added and more enhancements are planned for future releases. Since its beginning the Web Soil Survey has attracted a wide array of online visitors from all over the world.  During the first few months of its existence, the site averaged about 1000 users per day, but now the site has seen that number increase dramatically to about 6500 per day.

Soil surveys provide critical information in land use decisions, both on the farm and in the city.  Whether a land developer is looking to build or purchase, or a farmer is considering alternative crops, soil survey data is a critical element in the decision making process that produces a successful outcome without harming natural resources.  Making soils information available on the web has been a major achievement for NRCS, who is committed to making the process better and easier for the customer. NRCS is a science based USDA federal agency committed to the preservation of the nation’s natural resources through the use of conservation.

California Chapter Congratulates Newly Accredited – Prepares for Annual Convention

The California Chapter has been notified by the national ASFMRA office that a large number of attendees to the pilot Accelerated AFM/AAC Education program in January have completed their requirements for accreditation and received their designations. To date, these individuals include: Michael Anchordoquy, AAC,  John Arnold, AFM (CA), David Baughman, AFM (IL), Johan Bolle, AAC (CA), James Dunlap, AFM (SD), Carl Evers, AFM (CA), Timothy Fuchs, AAC (CA), Randy Heinzen, AFM (CA), Peter Holmes, AAC, Hugh Hunt, AFM, AAC (MN), Mark Hutson, AFM (CA), Clay Jacobson, AFM (CA), Roger Leach, AFM, AAC (IL), Ryan Metzler, AFM (CA), Mark Peterson, AFM, AAC (CA), Jim Redmond, AFM (WA), Erik Roget, AFM (CA), Mayo Ryan, AFM (CA), Kenneth Warlick, AAC (NC) and James Weatherford, AFM (AZ). Several additional attendees are in the process of meeting the requirements for accreditation and approvals should be forthcoming. The California Chapter was pleased to be a part of the pilot education offering and congratulates each of these members on this latest accomplishment in their careers.

With the ASFMRA Annual Convention being held in Reno in November, the California Chapter is putting finishing touches on plans for a Welcome Event to be held on Tuesday, November 12th at the National Automobile Museum in Reno. The museum has been ranked ‘One of America’s Five Greatest Automobile Museums’ and is home to The Harrah Collection, featuring more than 200 antique, vintage, classic and special interest cars. The museum also showcases period street settings, historical timelines, vintage clothing displays and much more. Be sure to sign up for this event when registering for the Reno meeting! Register now or get more information.

What You Need To Know if You Recently Testified in Court

All ASFMRA members regardless of membership classification or specialty, are required to comply with the ASFMRA Code of Ethics. This is one way the ASFMRA is able to stand above the rest as the Society whose members are delivering the highest quality work. Within 30 days after you testify as an expert giving an opinion before a tribunal where another ASFMRA member testifies for the opposing party, you are required to file a case report with the Society. The ASFMRA Code of Ethics, Article 14 defines a tribunal as “…a body or individual who renders a final decision. Depositions are not final decisions.”

If you find yourself testifying in court on opposing sides of another ASFMRA member, simply complete the Appraisal Review Case Report form and return it to Hope Evans with any additional information you wish to provide as indicated in Note 2 on the form. Please indicate on the envelope it is Confidential and include Hope Evans’ name then it will be delivered directly to her unopened.

The ASFMRA Executive Vice President, Brian Stockman, stated: “One of the advantages of belonging to a great professional Society like ours is this exact process. By submitting the testimony, we are policing ourselves to ensure ASMFRA members are delivering the highest quality and most ethical reviews and appraisals. “Most Trusted” is not just a tagline.”

Thank you to all ASFMRA members for making the Society one of the elite organizations in the agricultural profession.

News from the Appraisal Foundation

The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) has issued USPAP Q&As on the following topics:
• Utilizing a Data Entry Service
• Shelf-Life of an Appraisal or Appraisal Report
• Templates or Forms Used in Appraisal Review Assignments and USPAP Compliance
Issued:  August 2013
Questions?  Please contact Emily Mann,( Standards Administrator, 202.624.3058.

APB Seeks Subject Matter Experts


The Appraisal Practices Board (APB) has issued the following solicitations for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to assist in the research and development of voluntary guidance on the following topics:

Solicitation for Appraising Newly Constructed Residential Properties
Solicitation for Collection and Verification of Sales Data
The SME panels chosen to address these topics will accomplish their goals by, at a minimum, gathering, citing and researching all existing literature and publications.

For more information on the background and qualifications required to be considered for the Subject Matter Expert panels, please see the SME applications at the following links:  
Solicitation for Appraising Newly Constructed Residential Properties

Solicitation for Collection and Verification of Sales Data
Completed applications must be submitted by September 30, 2013.
Questions?  Please contact Staci Steward, Practices Administrator at 202.624.3052 or

In Memory Of
Donald C. Hardesty

Findlay, OH
The ASFMRA was honored to welcome Don into the membership in 1949. Don obtained his Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) designation and advanced to the Accredited classification on January 1, 1953. On January 1, 1957, he obtained his Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA) designation. Don maintained his membership as an active Accredited member until 1999 when he transferred to the Retired membership classification. Don served as the Ohio Chapter President in 1970 and as the National ASFMRA President in 1973. He was also active on the National Committee level with serving as a member on the Awards Committee from 1977 to 1980, Chair of the Awards Committee in 1981, Government Relations Committee member in 1990, and a member on the Bylaws Committee from 1991 to 1994. Don made many friends through his association with the Society who will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Elizabeth, and his family.
View the obituary:

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